Peltephilus

Name: Peltephilus ‭(‬Armour lover‭)‬.
Phonetic: Pel-tee-fie-lus.
Named By: Ameghino‭ ‬-‭ ‬1887.‭
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Xenarthra,‭ ‬Cingulata,‭ ‬Dasypodidae.
Species: P.‭ ‬ferox.
Diet: Omnivore‭? (‬refer to main text for details‭)‬.
Size: larger species up to about‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Argentina,‭ ‬Bolivia,‭ ‬and Chile.
Time period: Oligocene to early/mid Miocene.
Fossil representation: Remains of a few individuals.

       Peltephilus was an extinct relative of today’s armadillos,‭ ‬though its large size makes it comparable to the largest of today’s species such as the giant armadillo‭ (‬Priodontes maximus‭) ‬which has a combined head and tail length of one hundred and fifty centimetres‭ (‬one hundred for the body and fifty for the tail‭)‬.‭ ‬The large triangular teeth of Peltephilus have long since been held as proof of a carnivorous diet,‭ ‬though at least one study by S.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Vizcaino and R.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Farina in‭ ‬1997‭ ‬suggested that Peltephilus was a herbivore.
       The most distinctive characteristics of Peltephilus are the large scutes across the back and top of the head and the horns on the snout.‭ ‬The scutes were arranged in bands along the back to allow for a strong yet flexible covering of armour that would have proved a formidable defence against the teeth and possibly beaks of South American predators of this time.‭ ‬At least one pair of horns rose up from the snout between the eyes and nostrils of the skull,‭ ‬with a possible second smaller pair on the front of the snout.‭ ‬Since these horns are not normally seen in other armadillos,‭ ‬they most likely served a species specific purpose of‭ ‬display.‭
       Peltephilus also had large claws on feet that were on the ends of short legs.‭ ‬These would have been perfect for digging,‭ ‬possibly even ripping open ant nests and termite colonies.

Further reading
- Enumeration Synoptique des especes de mammiferes fossiles des formations Eocenes de Patagonie. - Boletin de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias en Cordoba (Republica Argentina) 13:259-452. - F. Ameghino - 1894.
- Mamiferos Cretaceos de la Argentina. Segunda contribucion al conocimiento de la fauna mastologica de las capas con restos de Pyrotherium. - Boletin Instituto Geografico Argentino 18:406-521. - F. Ameghino - 1897.
- Diet and locomotion of the armadillo Peltephilus: a new view. - Lethaia, 30, 79-86. - S. F. Vizcaino & R. A. Farina - 1997.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites